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Litterbox training: Isolation worked, but ...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
we have a semi-feral kitten we're trying to tame, about 6 months old. he keeps pooping and peeing outside of the litterboxes we have in the basement, so we have isolated him in a small room. immediately he has been using the litterbox correctly, so i'm not sure what to do now.

when he goes outside the litterbox i have been cleaning it up well and using nature's miracle to get rid of the scent. there are litterboxes for every cat which are cleaned at least twice a day. so i'm confused why he would use a litterbox he previously ignored when he was free to roam the house. though we have litterboxes in other parts of the house, he only goes in the basement normally.

i suspect it has something to do with the basement: it has a concrete floor, is it possible he just likes going on the concrete, possibly learned from his days out on the street (we live in an urban area)? i was thinking of getting a bunch of those thick plastic runners that go in hallways to cover the concrete, anybody think that would work?
post #2 of 8
If you have other cats, your kitten may not want to use a shared box. Let him have his own and when he gets older and more comfortable he will go to the other boxes.
post #3 of 8
Concrete may smell similar to dirt to the cat.... And ferals do their business in the dirt when they are outside. When I trained a feral to a litter box I put about 1/3 dirt to 2/3 litter and slowly decreased th dirt everytime I did a complete litter change. Try the dirt, real dirt may be more appealing than concreate.

Be advised dirt trakcs, is hard to deal with when scooping, and doesn't do much for smell either-but it is a bit better than poo & pee where ever.

If you go this route I would not put as much litter (and dirt in this case) as normal, make it sort of shallow-just for the fact that it will be easier for you to manage and less dirt to track. Also if you have a meduim sized rug that you don't value too much- put it where ever you have the litter box now and set the litter box on the MIDDLE of the rug. An old blanket or towels would work too.

Try blocking his acess to the basement, in fact I would do that first-would be faster and simpler, if it did in fact work!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
thansks for the advice! i have used dirt and different types of litter, and combinations thereof but that didn't seem to have an effect on him. there are an equal number of litterboxes for each cat, but how do you tell a cat that a given box is 'his'? maybe i should just put more boxes out as well. sheesh, you'd think a street cat wouldn't be so fussy!
post #5 of 8
How long has this been going on? Might want to get a vet check, could be a undiagnosed UTI. Once they associate the litter box with the pain of peeing from UTI they may avoid the box all together. 6 months is not too young to have UTI either.

In that case I would restrict him to one room and let him play around the whole house as long as I was able to supervise him-then put him back in 'his' room. Try making the play times longer and longer until he is always out.

Start with just a few hours the first day... and make play time longer.

OR you could keep the rooms he is peeing in off limits, then have supervised time with him in there-slowly increasing the time he is in there and eventually leave those rooms open.

Sound like this is going to be something that is going to take a while to fix, unless you can just keep him out of those rooms forever.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
the trick here is that he's semi-feral ... and i use the term 'semi' loosely. considering that he has been using the litterbox fine since being isolated, i don't think it's a UTI situation. but i am thinking we can really establish this as 'his' box if i keep him in there for a while so he makes the connection. i still want to fix up the basement area to make it less attractive to him, so i'm hoping the combination of these forces will help him get it in his head where he's supposed to go!

but i like the idea of letting him out to play and putting him back and gradually increasing the 'out' time. i will def try that!

honestly tho, he's not the brightest cat i have ever met the other semi-feral is a month younger than he is and never had any trouble figuring this out.
post #7 of 8
I hope your right! The # 1 symptom of UTI is peeing in inappropriate places, due to associating the pain with the litter box. How long has he been doing this? I would reallly worry if it was 'all of a sudden.'

Good luck with your 'wild' one!
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Just for closure's sake, after a week of perfect litterbox use in isolation, i let the little guy out and he has been problem-free ever since (knock wood)! i sure love it when this kind of thing actually works out as intended. i guess he just needed a refresher course on litterbox etiquette. thanks for everybody's advice!
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